The Macra na Ferme Rally for 2018 took place over the Bank Holiday Weekend with huge crowds in attendance over the three days. Hosted this year by South Tipp Macra in the Clonmel Park Hotel and LIT, Thurles the event is estimated to have generated €250,000 for the local economy.
The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan was the keynote speaker at the Macra National Conference which took place in LIT, Thurles on Saturday. The theme of this year's conference was 'Sustainability in a Challenging World' and in a wide ranging interview with RTE's Damien O'Reilly, Commissioner Hogan discussed generational renewal and how it will form a key part of CAP 2020 as well as the implications of Brexit.
The Commissioner praised Macra na Feirme and the positive impact it has had on his own life, telling the audience it taught him to, 'talk up and then shut up.' There was also two discussion panels at the conference which focused on 'Market Sustainability for Young Farmers in Post Brexit Ireland' and 'Enjoying a Healthy Work/Life Balance in Agriculture'.
Macra na Feirme National President James Healy said, ‘From the opening on Friday evening to the good-byes on Monday morning the 2018 Macra na Feirme National Conference has been a great success. The Rally is the biggest weekend on the Macra calendar and whether it’s your first or your tenth, the memories will last a lifetime. Thousands of members gathered over the weekend to test their knowledge and skills against their peers, to visit some excellent farms, to hear some very interesting speakers and to create new friendships with their fellow members. We were delighted in particular, to be joined by Commissioner Hogan who highlighted the success Macra has had in shaping policy at a European level. Congratulations to South Tipperary on organising a fantastic weekend and thank you to all those involved in putting it together.’
The Rally also plays host to a number of Macra National Competitions, the winners of which are listed below:
Irish Farmers Journal Know Your Ag Quiz: Portlaoise Macra, Laois
Macra na Feirme Club of the Year: Freemount Macra, Avondhu
Macra na Feirme Best New Member: Catriona O'Donovan, Ballinascarthy Macra, Carbery
Bord Bia Beef Senior Stockjudging: Liam Brophy, Portlaoise Macra
Bord Bia Beef U23 Stockjudging: Shane Clifford, Mid Kerry Macra
Bord Bia Sheep Senior Stockjudging: Graham Grothier, Tullow Macra, Carlow
The annual conference was an overwhelming success with positive feedback on all aspects of the weekend. Congratulations to all involved, in particular the South Tipp Rally committee.